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[sticky post] Notes to Self about Writing Life

1. Just be yourself. Don't schmooze, don't obssess, don't get weird, don't get all theater. It's served you well, being yourself all this time. Stick with it.

2. Just write. Keep at it steadily, keep at it carefully. Do it conscientiously, do it to the best of your ability.

3. See number one again, especially when you feel insecure about number 2.

4. Believe you have a story to tell. Then don't put it off. Tell it.

5. Accept that some people will like your work, some people will not like your work, and that's okay. You write because you have a story to tell. It's nice if someone will read your story, but if they don't, well, not everyone in the world or even the Western hemisphere is going to read your story. And that is okay.

6. Writing can change the world, but is not the most important job anyone will ever have on the planet. You are not telling deep truths about the universe. You are telling a story. Get over yourself.

7. See number one and number three again, just in case you need a reality check. Never believe your own press.

8. Keep doing something you enjoy that keeps you in touch with people and makes you feel that you are making a contribution to the world, because you can turn into a mushroom if you're writing only. A strange, weird, psychologically fungal mushroom, I might add. And then you might drink.

9. Do not pass judgment on the writing of others. Do not compare your writing to the writing of others. You can have opinions about things you read, but unless you are asked, you might want to keep them to yourself, especially where other writers are concerned. Play nice.

10. Expect others to play nice with you. Avoid pseudo intellectuals and non constructive critics. Hell, you don't need them. You have your worst critic, yourself, to contend with already.

11. The industry is not the measure of your success. Attention is not the measure of your success. Of course you want to send your work out, make smart marketing decisions, and try to share. The measure of your success is stories written and sent. You can't convince the world it wants your work, but you certainly can't do anything at all unless you're telling stories.

12. Realize that success in writing, like success in anything, is really more about persistance than anything else. Write, learn to market selectively and well, and then market selectively and well. There will be a learning curve. You will battle obscurity. You will make mistakes and get rejections. BUT eventually you'll have enough circulating and people will know who you are, and you'll learn the tricks, and your writing will line up with someone's taste, and more and more things will be accepted.

13. See 1, 3, and 7 again, especially in moments of personal angst.

14. See 2 and 4 again, especially in moments of procrastination.

15. See 4, 5, 9, and 11 again, especially in moments where you lack faith.

16. See 5, 9, and 10 to remind yourself of grace.

17. See 6, 7 and 10 to remind yourself that you're not curing cancer.

18. See 8 to maintain your balance.

19. See 12 when you feel like giving it up.

20. If you're not satisified anymore, if it's causing you consternation, cease. Walk away. Writing is important. A happy life is much more important than that. Anything must give you joy for you to continue it. Don't settle.

Paging Frank Capra

I have some revision to do on the Oni Press proposal. The surprise short story was pretty much an Aphrodite in the shell moment, and as such it has already begun its journey into the world. To wit, Chris Cornell thinks I should write an anthology of Midwestern lycanthropy stories. Never would have seen lycanthropy as a metaphor for my life, but here we are. :)

Had my physical on Wednesday and everything looked good. Yes, my cholesterol is a tiny bit high at 108. Diet and lose weight and be active. You know the drill. The doctor said, "Is there anything that you want to know?" I said no. Well, it was true at the time.

Thursday morning was a low day. It was my mother's birthday. Now, I've missed many of my mother's birthdays, so I'm still trying to figure out why this one hit me so hard. I think that it's because it was her 75th birthday, a landmark birthday. Bryon had been a bit upset with me the night before after a conversation about his mother, in which he thought I was trying to undermine his happiness about her living arrangements, and in which I was nerding out about modals of certainty. Go figure. So I was low going to bed and I woke up lower.

The next morning I woke up desolate and jittery. And I drove to work and entered the Depressed Zone (TM). I thought about things like how the world would be better if I didn't exist. I did not visualize suicide exactly. I made no plans. I was ripe for a George Bailey moment. My existence didn't matter and I wasn't doing any good. Clarence? Of course, at the end of the day, I did bring it up to the spouse, because that's what you do when you are on depression meds. Hey, I watch pharmaceutical commercials!

The following two days I have been just fine. JUST FINE. I think I had a moment of depression and feeling like a worthless daughter. I still feel that the decision to leave my family behind is the best one. I am grieving, not guilting. But there will always be some part of me that makes me feel like I am failing, and I am less worthwhile because I am not being a good daughter to bad parents. Should that have made me feel that I didn't want to exist?

Well, no. Of course not.

There are other mitigating factors. Harsh news, busy work, tiredness. Maybe even medication at a certain level. Taking one less Xanax now. Feeling jittery with two and a Wellbutrin. We are monitoring my psychological thoughts, and I'll see David at the end of the month, the soonest I could get in. Depression and anxiety are going to be a constant negotiation. We don't get better. It's sort of like we just go into remission.

And it's goofy. I look at all the wonderful friends I have, and all the ways in which I make a difference and enjoy my life. I have no idea why this happened. It was truly kind of a scary thing.


I would really, really like to credit teaching for bringing me back from the depression edge. Part of me wanted to stay home and stew in my juices, but work made me work and reach out, and I did some great teaching and some students even thanked me for it. Even though I was low, I kept moving and talking and I grew back into it, leaving the bad thoughts behind. I love my work.

That said, how strange would it be for me to say that I can now see myself doing something different? Because my thoughts are really elsewhere these days. I'm not phoning it in, but you know I would like for Bryon and I to be spending more time together, doing things that matter.

Okay. I'll keep you posted, guys. I'm on it. I'm not thinking I don't matter and shouldn't exist. I just did for about 3 hours on Thursday, and it passed.


The new short story is circulating, so I have 11 making the rounds. Several are close to trunking, EXCEPT I keep finding ONE MORE MARKET. I am back to Pawn of Isis.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Writing, Cleaning, Anticipating

Hey guys. The Oni Press script is done. Just waiting on you to open again, Oni Press. Whenever.

Today I wrote a new short story. Oh, I was cranky and work had been beating on me. I got to my writing time late and had to go back early. So, I whipped out 1170 therapeutic words about our recent experiences with stomachs. Except take out the words "gastric cancer" and insert the word "lycanthropy." Strangely effective for me. I don't know how it will be for all of you.

Both of those projects are currently in the eyes on stage, and then the short will go out soon. Oni Press as soon as can be.

I have one more writing day in September. Should I write another short, or should I get back to the novel? I am just not going to be boxed in, man.


This weekend, the spouse and I cleaned our garage. Friday morning I am going to see about six toilet seats (could I really be Reggie Lass?), an old air conditioner, Mr. Henrick's tomato cages, and a wealth of other junk we no longer use hauled away. My job should be pointing. :) But our garage will look kind of empty after that. We have a few chemicals to get rid of. We recycled the old tv. The oil is going soon, and there's some donation stuff. But yeah, we've almost got that summer (yes, I did say summer) project done.

We are still waiting for the demolishing of our bathroom. In 2-3 weeks, they tell us. I expect that will be all kinds of fun. Yes, sarcasm. That button still works.


Paradise Icon and Icon come up soon. I am working my way through the workshop stories. Some nice stuff this year.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

What that Oni Press Proposal Is

Oh, you should see the very very VERY scary stack of work on my desk. Eh.

So, I'm taking a little break. I did teacher prep this morning, and I've had enough of that. I sent out a little writer stuff and that brings me to the journal. After I do a little writing here, I'll work on scheduling what looks to be an intimidating number of meetings.

This afternoon I'm working on writing.


I promised I would tell you about my Oni Press project once I was closer to done. I should finish by the end of this month. Currently I'm under the delusion that I might even finish this afternoon. The story is called Alan Lynx, the Time Spy, and Me. It's a Cold War spy adventure with a time travel component, which is why I've watched the new Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie countless times and have taken up Mad Men. Immersion. :/ No, I'm afraid Mission: Impossible is no longer helpful. Over there, it's the 70s, man, and it's just not my scene.

I really like the story. It hits a lot of my buttons and marries many of my interests as a fan. I get to do partner spies, women's rights, time travel, and vintage looks. NOT that I'm drawing anything.

Well. I'm off to my weekend. Writing this afternoon, garage cleaning tomorrow, date night tomorrow night, and a fairly typical Sunday of choring, checking papers, and maybe writing. Or doing some plotting for my role playing game. Both need doing and exercise my creative self.

I hope you have a great weekend.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Things got a little relapsy there for a second, but I think we're good. Can't do the exercise thing entirely earnestly at the moment, but giving it the old college try.

Did I gain weight while I was in survival mode? Not exercising? Not counting points? A whopping 0.2 pounds, so not really. Yes!

Regrettably, I missed my second night of ballet. I walked a whole half hour before crapping out today. But the fighting spirit exists.

Anyway, this Amazon princess is going to keep watch on what she eats, and stick with some chicken soup for a little longer. Hope you are all doing well.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

It’s Alive!

Wow. Man. That was some evil virus.

But I am back among the living. I am currently watching Bryon make his sidekick Robin Hood plant carrots on the new farm in Disney Infinity. This has been the caliber of my sick days, except this seemed pretty normal until tonight. :)

I have watched a lot of television. I watched all of Grace and Frankie and most of the first season of Mad Men. I have things to say, especially about Mad Men.

Regrettably, my writing, my job, my nutrition, my exercise, all of it, fell off a cliff into slumberland. Tomorrow I begin to pick up the pieces. After that, you'll be hearing from me more here.

Until then.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Labor Day and the Weekend Ahead

Expect a quieter week.

This Labor Day is a trip to the Bristol Faire. I will be around Monday, but I expect mostly writing and catching up from being on the road this weekend. I will also have an unusual Wednesday, when I take the husband in for a gastroscopy. I expect to write a lot both days.

That does not preclude blogging. So, we'll see what develops.

Until then, I hope you all enjoy the last blast of summer.


Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Today I Teach

Yesterday I was feeling kind of...blah. Illusory, yes. I felt empty at my job, like most of what I did there was of no consequence. I was tired and wanted to do nothing. I did very little, even though there were piles of things sitting on my desk, exciting things like exit exams, writing goals, and researching Intensive English Programs.

Last year, I had an inkling to change jobs, and I almost did. I have no regrets about still being her in Iowa with Bryon. (Just to comment on how that sounds, we're still very much together. We would have had a long distance relationship for about 3 years, had I started a job in Ft. Lauderdale). Yes, Iowa is ridiculously hot and obnoxious in September, and we like it that way! My gut, though, told me it was time to do something new.

Let's be honest. I haven't the security to quit my day job and write. I think we could make it on Bryon's income, although now that we have begun earnest home repair, I'd have to add a part time gig on. BUT I feel like I want to work. I have this fear of being poor. When I grew up, my family was desolately poor. I lived in a room that had a hole in the roof. When it rained, I moved my bed and put down a bucket. Our house was a rodent-laden den of dirty dishes and little plumbing. I will not continue to paint a picture, but I will say that I learned early on that I had to provide my own way in life, and yes, even though I know I would never allow myself to live like that, even poor, the irrational part of my brain says that I need to be earning some cash. I was willing to go through college to earn more cash, and a full time writing job with persistence might be seen as an investment, but no, there are many reasons that many of us still work.

And there's teaching. The way I feel today about my job is diametrically opposite than yesterday. Today I taught for three hours. I did a two-hour class on modals of obligation and certainty. I know, you're on the edge of your seat just thinking about it! But I owned that room and pulled those students in. Yes, I was really tired at the end, the adrenaline-shaking performance high that awaits at the end of a good day of teaching. But coolest of all? I walked past a group of my students. They asked me how I was doing. I said, "Man, I'm tired!" And one of them said, "Yes, but that was a brilliant lecture."

ELA students exercising new vocabulary. Brilliant. Oh yeah.


I dunno. Sometimes, at 50, as I begin to hear the clock ticking,I wonder if I should have taken a different course. But if I had been a full-time writer, I'd probably be whining about how I didn't get to perform, or how I didn't make any money. When the time comes to leave teaching, I do plan to write as much as I can. It is my hope in retirement I can afford to write full-time, or work minimally at something to supplement my income if royalties are not flying into my bank account. But right now, I am privileged to having spent my life with all the men and women who have passed through my classroom on their way to their American dream.

Today was a great day. Regardless of what's done or undone, what I have done, or will do, I love my life, and I feel like myself.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

My Writing Practice and Fitness Report

Taking a few moments to journal today. I started my comics proposal for Oni Press September open call. Or October. That means right now I'm learning about comics scripting, which kind of takes me all the way back to screen writing class in my undergraduate days. I've thought about three different ideas before deciding on this particular one, a sort of stew of a couple of fandoms I like. Tomorrow morning I start my day writing, so I'll get right back to it then, or perhaps tonight, if I have any time left after this.


I have been thinking a lot about Rosenfeld's idea of a writing practice. This really works for me. As soon as I began to conceive of writing as something that was more like a daily meditation, rather than a career goal, I find that most of my reluctance to write disappears. I know. Kinda freaky, init? Especially right now, when I am beginning a brand new novel, coming up with a brand new proposal, and scrapping all but the most basic parts of my troll novel, normally this would be the season for procrastination. It's not, though. It's a chance for me to re-embrace writing for why I love writing. I have stories to tell and they're waiting on me.

Another really truly awesome part of coming back to this spot is that I am reminded that my art is mine, and I compare it to no one else's. No one can write what I write. No one can walk my writing path. There's no point in comparing each others writing or worrying about where you're at. It's one word at a time, you talking that journey. Pretty zen.

Yeah. That'll last.


I didn't put up weight stats last Thursday. Let me rectify that.

2015 Highest Weight 213.8 Current Weight 210.1 Lost: 3.7 pounds
Weight Watchers Beginning 224.8 Current Weight 212.2 Lost: 12.6 pounds
Total Loss: 13.7 pounds

And then...I went out and had the weekend from overeating town. Important lesson underscored: weekends that you spend in the car doing things other people want to do, or giri things that are necessary, such as visiting your sister-in-law in the hospital, and then spending the rest of the weekend doing chores result in looking for love, or relaxation in all the wrong places. In short, give me food or give me death, because life sort of isn't going the way I want.

Moral of the story...take your writing with you, and maybe something else to remind you about why you want to get healthy. Or sit something out on Sunday. Let yourself out of the box.

I weigh in tomorrow again. I suspect I may stay around the same, or gain weight.

Exiting news: next week is adult ballet. Yes, I am excited. Here I come Tuesday nights.

Right now, I have about half an hour before I go over to the high school to rescue the husband from volleyball tickets, and then home to home chores. Poop. One of those nights I would go looking for food. Except, you know, no. :)

How's it going with you all?

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Monday, Monday, Monday….Paradise Icon

...and what I've been doing today is working on Paradise Icon schedules and such. So, behold my handiwork!

Paradise Icon

And note that there's still one seat left. Could this be you? Hanging out with Ann Leckie, Joe Haldeman, and Tamar Siler Jones? And us? Yes, it could be.

I got nothin' else.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

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